Caledonian 1965 45 Years (The Clan Denny)
It’s been a really long time since I’ve reviewed a single grain whisky. I know people like a bargain, and a 40-year-old grain whisky for 250-ish euros might seem like one, but that’s compared to prices of single malt whisky.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, really good grain whisky does exist, but it really doesn’t have the same range of flavours as you might find in single malts. And please don’t mistake me for a narrow minded snob pissing all over anything that’s not single malt and isn’t willing to taste anything else — I’m stating this as someone who has tasted his fair share of old (and young) grain whiskies. Also, this…
Now that you know my feelings on grain whisky, let’s try an ancient single grain whisky, okay? Actually, this one is from a closed distillery, Caledonian. It closed permanently in 1988 but for a long time provided for the blends of United Distillers (now part of Diageo).
Caledonian 1965 45 Years (46.1%, The Clan Denny, C#6294)
Nose: Here we go with the glue again. It is inescapable. There’s more though. Lots of vanilla, butterscotch and oat cakes, but also a tinge of white chocolate. Very one-note.
Taste: Creamy and plenty of vanilla, a fair amount of oak, lychees and sour beer. Rather spicy too and a whiff of almonds.
Finish: Somewhat bitter. Fairly short.
Underwhelming overall. The lack of complexity after 45 years of ageing is seriously shocking. That being said, it’s not a bad whisky, not at all. It does confirm my feelings on grain whisky though.
Photo: Master of Malt
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.